Two-thirds (66%) of smartphone owners are more worried about privacy on their device than they were a year ago, according to a new survey from TRUSTe.

Furthermore, 79% of respondents said they would avoid using smartphone apps that they don't believe protect their privacy online.

This tallies with findings from a previous Webcredible study, which found that security and safety of information were among the main barriers holding back mobile commerce.

Most of the participants in the study were worried about security issues such as having their phones hacked, or infected with viruses that could lead to their personal details being intercepted or stolen.

There were similar concerns about safety when entering card details on the phone in public where other people can see.

TRUSTe’s online survey of 2,006 adults found that 88% of British internet users worry about online privacy – this is largely unchanged from the 2012 survey when the total was 90%.

Similarly, 43% of users do not trust companies with their personal information (up 6% on 2012) while 91% of respondents said that they avoided doing business with companies they don’t believe protect their privacy.

Online shopping proved to be the activity that consumers are most concerned about, with 88% worried about their privacy, followed by the use of social media (86%).

Interestingly, 40% of online shoppers admitted to be being ‘frequently’ or ‘always’ concerned about their privacy.

The survey also found that 84% of online banking customers have privacy concerns, as well as 80% of those who used mobile apps and 76% of those who use email.

Nearly all British internet users (96%) want the ability to control who can collect their personal information and who can track their activities online.

This is now a legal requirement under the EU Cookie Directive; however according to a previous TRUSTe report just 12% of the UK’s top 50 websites had taken steps to comply with the law.

But that hasn’t led to a flurry of enforcement action by the Information Commissioner’s Office – six months after the deadline it had received just 550 complaints from web users and had written to just 174 companies as a result.

David Moth

Published 28 January, 2013 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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